US Employers Expect Steady Hiring as 2007 Begins

December 12, 2006 ( - Most US employers expect to enter the new year with a steady hiring pace similar to the past two years, according to results of the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

A Manpower press release said 60% of the 14,000 US employers surveyed expect no change in the hiring pace during the first quarter of 2007. Twenty-three percent said they expect to add to their payrolls during the next quarter, and 11% expect to reduce staff levels.

In four of the 10 industry sectors surveyed, employers expect weaker hiring activity in the first quarter of 2007 compared to the fourth quarter of 2006. The most significant change is in the Finance/Insurance/Real Estate sector, which was one of the strongest in the surveys throughout 2006, according to the release. The Construction, Durable Goods Manufacturing, and Transportation/Public Utilities sectors also expect hiring to be down.

Employers in the Non-Durable Goods Manufacturing, Wholesale/Retail Trade and Services sectors said they foresee little change in the hiring pace for next quarter compared to fourth quarter 2006. Hiring is expected to improve slightly in the Education, Public Administration, and Mining sectors.

Compared with last year at this time, the survey found employers in the South and West have slightly weaker hiring plans. Employers in the South were most optimistic about hiring plans, and the job outlook is also more positive for the Northeast. Job prospects in the Midwest are expected to be about the same, while companies in the Midwest are most reserved about their hiring plans in the new year.

International survey results show employers in 20 of 23 countries and territories reporting more robust hiring plans than one year ago. The most optimistic hiring expectations for first quarter 2007 are in Peru, Singapore, India, Argentina, South Africa, Costa Rica, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Complete US and international results of the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey can be viewed here .